Board paves way for moratorium

SOUTHWICK – The Board of Selectmen is moving forward with a Planning Board recommendation for a moratorim on common driveways.
Planning Board Chairman Douglas Moglin said the board has viewed common driveways as any other accessory use because there are no bylaws specific to driveways.
The board has previously tried to create a bylaw without success. He hopes to work on one during a moratorium.
“We want to put in a place a moratorium on common driveways no to exceed two years until we can put in place a bylaw,” Moglin said.
A moratorium would not affect any common driveways already in process. There are at least 38 common driveways in town today. While they can pose some problems because any property with enough frontage can be subdivided as long as there is a common driveway, the do have value.
Conservation Commission Coordinator Dennis Clark said environmentally they “can be beneficial.”
According to state statute, without a driveway bylaw, a common driveway should be viewed as another accessory to a home, such as a shed.
“I can’t believe we look at sheds the same way we look at driveways,” said Selectwoman Tracy Cesan.
Currently the Department of Public Works issues driveway permits. Selectmen Chairman Russell Fox said he would like to include the DPW in discussions about the bylaw.
A hearing on the moratorium is set for Jan. 21.

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